‘This increase will make our tourism Vat rate the second highest in the EU’ – mixed reaction from Irish hospitality sector

The price of drink was left untouched in the Budget. The pint is sacrosanct. No price increase, yet again. Good news shines through the opaque black stuff.

aybe I nodded off but there was not much mention of a drink.

The dire warnings of the pint reaching a tenner in rural Ireland by Christmas are highly unlikely to be realised. One man said to me, “I’m glad now we drank enough of it while it was cheap.”

The focus was on financial aid. There will be those who will say not enough. The people who have too much will say too much has been given out.

It seems we have been bailed out by the billions paid in tax by the big corporations. And there were ideological politicians who were only bursting to tax the givers of €12bn in this year alone out of Ireland.

It was a good Budget for the mothers.

No Charge was a big hit for Melba Montgomery back in the Seventies. Like many country songs, there was a story. This young lad billed his “mom” for making his own bed, going to the store and putting out the bin. The mother gave it right back to the ungrateful pup. She sang all plaintive and emotional. “For the nine months I carried you, growing inside of me, no charge.”

The mom really laid on the guilt. The song goes on and on. “For the toys, food and clothes and for wiping your nose, there’s no charge.”

The boy, who by now was surely traumatised, wrote “paid in full” on his bill. Millions broke down and cried.

Motherhood is being rewarded in the Budget. School books are no charge. GPs for young children – no charge. The nursery is nearly half no charge. Contraception – no charge. School buses – no charge. No Vat on period products. There will be double payments for children’s allowance or whatever it’s called now.

Please, mommies, come out and have a drink. Some of the pressure is off.

I always say when the parents start calling each other “Mammy” and “Daddy” it’s time to go out on a date, with each other. Go to the pub.

We had better play by the rules. I have a vested interest here. My mother was a mother.

The universal goodies include the bit of help with the electricity bills.

This will result in savings in the A&E department, with so many of us bumping into fixtures and fittings that do not move in the dark.

“Who put that there?”

“That’s the door, darling.”

It was either subsidize the electric light or give out free hurling helmets.

Then there were dire warnings about using electricity between five and seven in the evening.

The dinner is now cooked at around midnight. The traditional feasts like bacon and cabbage, pigs’ heads and crubeens, which are slow-cooked, have the meter twirling.

The offal and bacon industry is safe for now and so is Cork’s English Market. We were worried toast speared by a fork would have to be roasted by the candle used to light up the house. But now the plain people of Ireland can eat the dinner in the evening after work.

There was a real risk to small and medium-sized businesses. Leo said there wasn’t much point in keeping us open all through Covid, only to let us go broke now due to Putin’s war.

The Budget subsidy should also keep the price of the pint in check. But we need luck.

The Infant de Prague will be out in all weathers on Merrion Street this winter.

For those of you not familiar with the miracle of the good weather statue, here is how it works: the statue is usually put outdoors on the night before weddings to ensure good weather on the big day.

The State should build a permanent Infant de Prague statue in front of Leinster House. We could badly do with a dose of global warming this winter, and badly do without a dose of Covid or the flu.

The good news is the free GP care means many more people can now afford to get sick. The bad news is that those with nothing wrong with them and even less to do, may fancy spending a spell in the waiting rooms too. A spoonful of sugar doesn’t always help the medicine go down.

I do agree with the increase in the pension and double payments from Heather Humphreys, who is tough but has a good heart.

The OAPs kept this country going for so many years and deserve so much more.

There are those who would increase the pension age. If we cannot afford to look after those who looked after us what does that say about our country?

The most of these good-news stories were leaked the night before the Budget. As is often said in north Kerry when secrets get out, “he couldn’t hold his water”.

There were no surprises due to the leaks. People love a nice surprise. It’s all about the wow factor.

It’s only September for a few more days, but it was as if we wrote to Santa early, and were given all the presents asked for in our letter.

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